Thursday, July 8, 2010

Friday Challenge!

Summertime and the living is easy
Fish are jumping
And the cotton is high
Your Daddy's rich, and your Mama's good lookin'
So hush little baby do-wo-on't you cry

One of these mornings, you're gonna rise up singing
You're gonna spread your wings and take the sky
But till that morning, there is nothing can harm you
With your daddy and mommy standing by.

Where are you right now? I mean right now - the first or most important time you heard that song? Where are you? How big are you? What's happening around you? Is it hot out? Are you outside? Are you in someone's arms?
Are you a little one having a lullabye sung to you

or are you trying to stay inconspicuous as the adults drink their drinks and chat their chat - the hifi riffing this summer song?

Are you a teenager listening to Janis Joplin belt it out with Big Brother and the Holding Company - her impossible perfectly heartbreaking voice making you wish you were lying somewhere strung out and longing even if it scares the beejezus out of you?

Are you thinking of this song historically when you hear it in your mind - a world where cotton is high and mamas are physical beings not just purveyers of kool-aid and fish are jumping - yes jumping for the sheer joy of it?

Are you wondering where those days are?

Are you sitting quietly thinking - oh, I best not stroke that nostalgic old beast that can live quite quietly thank you very much. I don't need to think about hot sultry nights when we'd all gather in the hotel and one of the women would start to sing summmer summmmmmmer tiiiiiiiiime and we'd be sort of boozily freaked maybe but still all was forgiveable wasn't it? And maybe we'd worked that day and maybe we'd wobbled instead because there wasn't any apple pie in the cook hall and anyway fire season was nearly upon us and we'd be out of work soon enough. The geo-duckers were due in town shortly with their great amounts of money and good dope and cool good looks - clean to the loggers' patina of sweat and dirt and tan. Then we'd all party. We'd all party at the hotel and play the jukebox and then wander down to someone's house and keep on partying. Someone would start some drama - some gal would kiss some other gal's fella and then the shit would fly. Or someone would dis some guy for not climbing the seniority ladder fast enough. But then we'd hear that song, 'and the living is eaaaaaasy' and we'd remember that these are the days, yes these are the days.

assignment: grab an old song out of the air and free fall with it - let yourself go for the pure joy of it - riff until you're quite done. There. Good.


Cruella Collett said...

You know, I have known this song for what feels like all my life, but it wasn't until maybe a year or two ago that I listened to the lyrics (other than the "when the living is easy"-part). The whole song changed completely, and for a while I was obsessed of finding different versions of it, listening to the instruments used, pondering the story behind the song. When I learned it was from "Porgy and Bess", I wanted to see the musical. Then I got all Gershwined for a while.

So basically you picked the exact song I would choose for this Friday challenge, I think :) I will now have to listen to my favourite version, the one with Ella and Louis (I just love it when the band gears up just before he comes in. Lovely!).

Thanks for reminding me :)

John Atkinson said...

I'm not sure when, where or who the singer was but the song is in my head like groves on a wax record.

Now you've done it. I'll have to dust off my guitar and hunt for the notes in E minor.

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - I just loved the Janis Joplin version of this song! What an incredible talent she was, and so sad that she died as young as she did...

But where I am - where I really am - when I hear that song is watching the movie based on this show. I remember the first time I watched it; I didn't expect to like it but I did - a lot.

Stacy Post said...

I can't remember when I first heard the song, but it certainly provokes a mood. A wonderful representation of sound and lyrics combining to create something unique.

I'm at the keyboard today while there's still time. Many blessings to you, Jan! Groove on!

Jemi Fraser said...

I LOVE this song! It's one of my faves - I think I have 5 different versions of it on my iTunes. It always makes me smile! :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

What a great Friday challenge, Jan! I sing this to my daughter about twice a week for a bedtime song (we have quite a few songs we sing.) :)

Ann said...

Janis Joplin was one of my fathers favorite female vocalists. But my memory of this was at my first mixed unsupevised teenage party. Music care of my friend's oldest brother! Oh to be that young and carefree again......

Jan Morrison said...

Mari - you're welcome and I hope you riff on it and find it helpful!
John - you are very welcome!
Margot - oh I'm a big fan of hers - that insane voice - I long for it! I guess you mean Porgy & Bess - I loved that movie too...
Stacy - I can always count on you for loving the old hippy in me! Or I guess I should say the young hippy in the older me!
Jemi - lots of positive response to this song for sure...
Elizabeth - yes, free falls are great ways to go deeper into parts of our manuscripts. We don't always need to use them but there are usual a few jewels in the mix...
Ann - glad it evoked some memories!